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Finding that Happy Place 

Photo contest winners share their slice of Central Oregon

This spring, Source Art Director Darris Hurst served as one of a handful of judges in the "Your Happy Place" Central Oregon Photo Contest held by High Desert Frameworks. Local photographers were asked to submit photos showing a place they consider their "happy place" in Central Oregon.

Among over 100+ submissions, a series of finalists emerged. On the following pages we've printed the winners in several top categories, along with the runners-up. Enjoy this peek into some of the most stunning places our region has to offer.

Judge Select Winner:

Stephen Peters - Ancient Arch Over Reynolds Pond

Ancient Arch Over Reynolds Pond - STEPHEN PETERS
  • Stephen Peters
  • Ancient Arch Over Reynolds Pond
From the artist:

"I just "discovered" Reynolds Pond in Alfalfa early this year and have found it to be a photographic mecca. Its islands of wispy foliage provide sumptuous mirror reflections when the water is calm, and give the place a bayou-like vibe. I have photographed misty sunrises there with geese providing a chorus of entertaining clattering. I even shot the recent total lunar eclipse there, which revealed TWO eclipsed Moons – one in the sky and the other its striking reflection in the water.

I love Milky Way nightscape photography and knew this pond would be a great place to get a Milky Way panorama in the spring, when it arches low over the horizon. I determined where I'd need to position the camera so that the arch of the Milky Way would "mirror" the curve in the pond's shoreline contour in this roughly 180-degree perspective. Then at around 4:30 a.m. on March 12 I took a series of nine 20-second, vertically oriented images, starting at one end of the Milky Way and rotating the camera about 20 degrees for each subsequent shot. The nine images were then stitched together digitally using software to create the final panorama.

I look forward to many more serene mornings, placid evenings, and starry nights at my newest "happy place" - Reynolds Pond. "

Popular Vote Winner:

Cody Clark - Smith Rock Sunrise

Smith Rock Sunrise - CODY CLARK
  • Cody Clark
  • Smith Rock Sunrise

From the artist:

"Smith Rock has always been one of my favorite places in central Oregon ever since my first visit there. Photographing landscapes is a bit of a departure for me; I typically photograph wildlife, and the wealth of wildlife combined with the amazing scenery and views is what makes Smith Rock such an amazing place for me. I wanted a Smith Rock photo to call my own, but I wanted something a little different than the typical views and scenes that most visitors capture. I decided to try my luck at sunrise, and I got lucky with the awesome colors that were in the sky that day. Looking at my photo always reminds me of some of the evening hikes I would take, admiring the eagles in the sky and the otters in the river."

Peer Select Winner:

Nikolaus Williams - Mt Bachelor Sunset

Mt Bachelor Sunset - NIKOLAUS WILLIAMS
  • Nikolaus Williams
  • Mt Bachelor Sunset

From the artist:

"I actually managed to capture this one with my drone. I was randomly flying around the Soda Creek area, and all of a sudden stumbled across this scene. Knowing how special it was, I stopped immediately and took several bracketed shots. This is my happy place, especially when visiting after the busy tourist season. The changing weather late in the year creates some really gorgeous scenes. And less people means I usually have the whole area to myself!"

Peer Select Runners-Up:

John Naitove - Comet Neowise in the Western Sunset

Comet Neowise in the Western Sunset - JOHN NAITOVE
  • John Naitove
  • Comet Neowise in the Western Sunset

Cody Clark - The Tiger and the Iris

The Tiger and the Iris - CODY CLARK
  • Cody Clark
  • The Tiger and the Iris

Steven O'Brien - With Fires Comes Beauty

With Fires Comes Beauty - STEVEN O'BRIEN
  • Steven O'Brien
  • With Fires Comes Beauty

Justin Hartley - Springtime on the river

Springtime on the river - JUSTIN HARTLEY
  • Justin Hartley
  • Springtime on the river

Angela Bohlke - Neowise comet night

Neowise comet night - ANGELA BOHLKE
  • Angela Bohlke
  • Neowise comet night

Peer Select Honorable Mentions:

Alexander Hogue - Last Chair

Last Chair - ALEXANDER HOGUE
  • Alexander Hogue
  • Last Chair

DanNica White - Paddling into my favorite campsite with all the gear

Paddling into my favorite campsite with all the gear - DANNICA WHITE
  • DanNica White
  • Paddling into my favorite campsite with all the gear

Kendra Diangelo - Sunbeams at Proxy Falls

Sunbeams at Proxy Falls - KENDRA DIANGELO
  • Kendra Diangelo
  • Sunbeams at Proxy Falls

Jason Mcpheeters - Spring Bee on Lupine

Spring Bee on Lupine - JASON MCPHEETERS
  • Jason Mcpheeters
  • Spring Bee on Lupine
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